Yes, yes, 16-year old New Zealander, writes her own songs, hot success, Royals- you have read all the press releases and accolades, I’m sure. You may have even developed an allergic reaction to Royals due to that song being played to death on radio and covered to, well, deader than dead by way too many aspiring stars on YouTube. It’s a shame, really, as Royals is a solid song, with great production values, catchy beats, and strong and impressively mature vocals from this young lady.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg here. Tennis Court has some pretty pretentious lyrics, but it sounds great, if a little similar to Royals. 400 Lux and Ribs show different sides of Lorde, however, and these are nice sides. Ribs is faster, catchier yet retaining the angst and blues that define Lorde’s songs str0ngly in this album. Buzzcut Season is a catchy song with a cheery tune, but the words are depressingly bleak as the song is about knowing that one’s life is going nowhere but down, but defiantly living for the moment nonetheless. Team is my favorite song here, although it’s also the most obvious track one can pick to present in court as evidence that Lorde is a clone of Lana Del Rey, manufactured in a Kiwi plant. It is also the weakest song, lyrically, but Lorde manages to sell the message – angry teens living in squalor, tired of being ignored by more privileged people – with verve and style.
If there is a flaw in this album, it’s the fact that we have a young girl singing about things that are far bigger than her. At the end of the day, Lorde is singing about social inequality and anger through the lens of a teenage girl. It’s hard to fully buy these messages, although this is not really her fault. Not that I’m suggesting that she should sing about hot boys and making out in the backseats, or that teenagers are clueless about these things – what I am saying here is that, at the end of the day, these songs lack that a sense of conviction or anger to fuel them and make them something more than well-produced songs that are very well-performed by a young lady.
This isn’t a bad thing, actually. It just means that one day this young lady may come up with something that sounds good to and resonates emotionally with me. Right now, Pure Heroine is pure heroin to the ears. The songs stick to the head like gorgeous ear worms, and while she does sound like Lana Del Rey’s mini-me at times, at least her lyrics feel more grown-up than Ms Del Rey’s.